How To Reduce Painful Muscle Cramps | Online Naija

How To Reduce Painful Muscle Cramps

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Muscle cramps are involuntary muscle contractions that are very common to everyone and we’ve all experienced it.

It occurs in any region of the body, simply as a result the body’s composition, that’s made up of muscles in every region and can strike when we least expect it. Because sometimes, the whole muscle tissue doesn’t contract, but only part of it and this makes the cramp concentrated into one area, hence the intense and annoying pain that follow. Cramps occur without any direct trauma or damage to the muscle and  it’s even common after overestimating the body or before going to sleep.

Causes of involuntary muscle contractions
As earlier mentioned, direct trauma doesn’t cause cramps, as many people believe but the factors that cause it are a little more varied and far from muscle damage and the most common are:

a. Injuries to the spinal cord.
b. Nerve malfunction.
c. Muscular overexertion.
d. Lack of minerals.
e. Hydration problems.
f. Insufficient blood flow in the muscle.
e. A pressed nerve in the back or neck.

Other factors that cause cramps included:

g. Pregnancy.
h. Periods.
i. Renal insufficiency.
j. Hypothyroidism.
k. Alcohol problems.
l. Certain medications.

Since you can get a cramp at any time, it’s important to know what to do when you have one, you need to know how to be prepared for the situation.

Male athlete on floor clutching knee and hamstring in excrutiating pain on white background

How to prevent having cramps

Overexerting your muscles is one of the main triggers of involuntary muscle contractions, hence you should take a number of precautions before doing any physical activity, some of the precautions includes;

a. Activating all muscle groups, especially those in the specific area that you’re working out.
b. Hydrating yourself before, during and after the activity.
c. Don’t eat heavy foods.
d. If you do eat, do it at least 2 hours before exercising.
e. Avoid drinking coffee or alcoholic beverages.

Alternatives for controlling a cramp
There are many ways to lessen the effect of involuntary muscle contractions and some of the easiest/most practical ways includes;

a. Massaging the affected muscle
This is one of the most common ways of treating a cramp and to do this, it’s first necessary to get into a comfortable position, depending on where the contracted muscle is. Then exercise moderate force with one hand while massaging in the form of circles to promote blood circulation to the muscle so that it returns to a normal state.

b. Apply heat to the cramp
This is also a great alternative for combating cramps, especially when they last a long time and it can applied in different ways like taking a warm shower because heat of the water on the body will be responsible for gradually dissipating the involuntary contraction and hot water combined with steam can be very effective.

Also hot water compression involving soaking a towel in hot water and compressing it directly to the affected area will improve the state of the muscle.

c. Drinking lots of water
Since one of the main causes of cramping is dehydration, a good alternative is drinking more water and this does not only treats cramps but also prevents them. Therefore whenever you get a cramp you should drink at least half a liter of water. However, it’s necessary to know whether the muscle contraction occurred during a physical activity, if this is the case, then the cramp is directly related to body dehydration.

Credit:  SteptoHealth

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